Day 9, February 5-Easter Island

We arrived at Easter Island this morning. The island doesn’t have a pier large enough to accommodate the ship so we are anchored off shore. We are “tendered” to the island by one of 10 lifeboats which see double duty as shuttles or “tenders” as they are called. The seas are very rough and we had to be very carefully stepping off the ship into the tender and then off the tender onto the pier.

According to Wikipedia Easter Island is one of the most remote places in the world. It so named because the first European to “discover” the island did so on Easter day 1722. The name Rapa Nui means, among other things Big Rapa. It also has been called the Navel of the world.

The huge stone statues represent the souls of the deceased. The fronts are carved while the stone is still in the ground and then were stood up to complete the figures and to move them into place.

According to our guide during the 18 century anarchy prevailed among the tribes on the island. To create order the tribal leaders met and devised a plan to select a chief. Once a year a representative of each tribe would participate in a contest to retrieve a bird's egg from an island off the coast. The contest began atop Rano Kau and the contestants had to climb down the mountain, swim to the 3rd island (see photos below), retrieve an egg, and then swim back to the main island, climb back to the starting point. The chief of the tribe of the winner would rule the island for a year when the contest would be repeated. This yearly ritual ended about the middle of the 19th century.

Click on the first picture for a slide show.

© Surveyor of the Passing Scene